Then and Now

I’ve always found the comparative photographs showing photographs from the 1940s and how those same locations look today. In the past you would have needed to physically go the locations to take those comparative photographs, however with tools such as Google Street View you can now find the same locations online.

The harbours of Weymouth and Portland were one of the biggest departure points for US troops with over 500,000 military personnel, including support staff, and 144,000 vehicles.

This is a circa late May or early June 1944 photograph of U.S. Rangers marching through Weymouth in Dorset, en route to board landing ships for the invasion of France.

Weymouth in 1944

Using Google Street View you can get a similar contemporary view of Weymouth.

contemporary view of Weymouth

You can actually see very little has changed since 1944, the hotel has changed its name and the buildings have been repainted, but the substance of the buildings have changed very little.

Somerset Pillbox

Went for a walk along Sand Bay (near to Weston super Mare). I find it interesting that there is a pillbox on the beach, as you wouldn’t have thought that this coastline was under threat of German invasion back in 1940.

Somerset Pillbox

However doing some research about the pillbox, I came to realise that the British in 1940 did believe that invasion may come from the South West.

The Taunton Stop Line was a defensive line in south west England. It was designed “to stop an enemy’s advance from the west and in particular a rapid advance supported by armoured fighting vehicles (up to the size of a German medium tank) which may have broken through the forward defences.

The Taunton Stop Line ran north-south for nearly 50 miles through Somerset, Dorset and Devon, roughly from Axminster to Chard along the River Axe, then along the Great Western Railway to Ilminster, the railway and Chard Canal to Taunton, the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal to Bridgwater, and the River Parrett to the coast near Highbridge.

A beach battery at Portished, was built to protect the entrance to Avonmouth Docks. It was the first such installation to be become operational in the area, the battery containing two 6″ guns. Similarily the Severn Fixed Defences were designed to protect the Bristol Channel with batteries established at Brian Down and on Steep Holm and Flat Holm.

In October 1940 it was announced that the Severn Fixed Defences, a string of gun batteries, designed to protect the mouth of the Severn, would be established at Brean Down, on both Steep and Flat Holm, and on the Glamorgan coast at Lavernock Point.

Just like Brean Down further south along the coast, weapons were tested at Sand Point (next to Sand Bay) during the Second World War. Some were so strange that they were never seen after their initial trials.

Somerset Pillbox

With the release of the Bolt Action Sealion Campaign book it got me thinking about all the possibilities of a German invasion of Somerset… okay probably would have been impossible, but even so….

SDD Daimler Dingo

The Daimler Scout Car, known in service as the “Dingo” (after the Australian wild dog), was a British light fast 4WD reconnaissance vehicle also used in the liaison role during the Second World War. In 1938 the British War Office issued a specification for a scouting vehicle. Out of three designs submitted by Alvis, BSA and Morris, the one by BSA was selected. The actual production was passed to Daimler, which was a vehicle manufacturer in the BSA group of companies. The vehicle was officially designated Daimler Scout Car, but became widely known as Dingo, which was the name of the competing Alvis prototype.

I bought some SDD models in the 1990s.

SDD British Daimler Dingo

Not sure how I will use these, potentially desert models or as wrecks.

Another option would be to use them as part of my modern English Civil War background.

Cleaning the LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

I have started working on my Warlord LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac for Bolt Action. The LVT-4 is a 1/56th scale 28mm resin and metal kit and comes in a box with a picture of the completed model on the front.

Bolt Action Commando LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

The Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) is an amphibious warfare vehicle and amphibious landing craft, introduced by the United States Navy. The Marine Corps and Army used several LVT models during World War II. Five hundred were provided to the British Army. Originally intended solely as cargo carriers for ship to shore operations, they evolved into assault troop and fire support vehicles.

The model comprises four resin parts, the hull, two tracks and the rear ramp.

Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT)

Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT)

There are metal components for the mudguards, benches and machine guns.

Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT)

The resin pieces were nice clean castings with virtually no flash and minimal casting “plugs” that needed to be removed. I did very little cleaning, and as I went over the castings I was impressed with the quality of the castings.

I washed the resin in warm soapy water to remove any remaining mould lubricant.

Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT)

The next stage will be glueing the pieces together.

I am in the process of building a Commando team to fight alongside my partisans for games of Bolt Action. The force is taking its time to put together, but now I have transport for them.

As well as this model, the Commandos plastic boxed set I also have a couple of blisters, a Mortar Team and the Vickers MMG Team.

Heer 1946

One of the games at the wargames show at Bovington that I did a good look at was this 15mm 1946 game complete with a range of alternate German and Allied tanks that were designed, but either were too late for action, or never got further than the drawing board. I have to admit I never got round to checking what actual models were represented on the table, but there were E-100 and E-50 tanks as well as Panther IIs.

This photograph shows a Sarissa Precision Factory. I really do like this model (and the huge one for 28mm too). Around it are finished and partly finished tanks of a variety of types.

IMG_2910c

A large tank on a railway wagon. The table also had a lot of HO 1/87th scale buildings that did not seem out of place on the table. There are a range of HO buildings that would be ideal for 15mm games, especially those of the industrial variety.

IMG_2910b

Here is another Sarissa Precision factory with a couple of JagdTigers outside. As with the other, it looks like the RAF has been busy trying to stem the production of these new German tanks.

IMG_2910a

Here is a overview of the table. There were TT scale trains, wagons and track (which are just about an appropriate scale for 15mm).

IMG_2910

In the box to the side of the tables were 15mm models of the Black Prince, the Tortoise and Centurion Mk1 tanks.

Tortoise

All of these could be found (for real) in the Tank Museum itself.